Sunday, 24 October 2021

Couple fined after boathouse 'demolition'

A COUPLE who run a marina will have to pay more than £18,000 after being found guilty of demolishing an historic boathouse without permission.

A COUPLE who run a marina will have to pay more than £18,000 after being found guilty of demolishing an historic boathouse without permission.

Lisa and Ben Caddick, who operate Val Wyatt Marine in Willow Lane, Wargrave, were each fined £5,000 at Reading Magistrates? Court. The company was fined the same amount.

The couple were also ordered to pay £3,455 costs.

Wokingham Borough Council prosecuted the Caddicks after residents reported building work on the site, which is in a conservation area. The council said the couple told planning officers they wanted to remove the timber boathouse, which was built in the 1900s, to make way for a two-storey office that would float on the river.

In a statement after the case, Councillor John Kaiser, executive member for planning and highways, said: ?Planning regulations protect and enhance the borough?s history. There are many exceptional buildings in the borough which benefit from listed status and conservation area protection.

?We must retain these buildings for future generations and if they are deliberately demolished without the relevant consent we will use our powers to prosecute those responsible.?

Mrs Caddick denied demolishing the boathouse, saying it had just been moved.

She said: ?The boathouse is still standing but in its former location the severely dilapidated building was at serious risk of collapse. We sought advice from professional planning consultants prior to moving the boathouse and were advised that as we were not demolishing it we did not require planning permission. We believed we were operating within the law.

?We were very open with Wokingham Borough Council from the beginning, stating that our intentions were to move the boathouse, not demolish it. Their officers visited our site four times before the move, agreeing that the boathouse was clearly dilapidated and had already lost much of its historical context.

?At no point during these visits were we issued with stop notices or enforcement notices. We repeatedly requested to be shown legislation to show that the boathouse could not be moved but were not given any.

?The borough council asked us to apply for retrospective planning permission to demolish the boathouse and led us to believe that we would receive permission.

We have been trying to work with the council throughout.?

Val Wyatt was founded in 1845 and has been owned by Mrs Caddick?s family for 40 years. * What do you think? Write to: Letters, Henley Standard, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley, RG9 1AD or email letters@henleystandard.co.uk

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